From the Oakley Progression Sessions — Loon Mt., N.H. (March 5) — The first stop of the Oakley Progression Sessions, Droppin’ In, kicked off today at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire, under some typical New England spring conditions: a little bit of snow, a little bit of rain, and a lot of clouds. Even though the sun didn’t want to make an appearance, the sixty female participants, ranging in age from their teens to their forties, were so motivated to rip up Loon’s four parks that a little bit of rain was no match for their excitement.
The women began arriving at 7 a.m. for this one of a kind, weekend-long women’s park camp. They picked up an Oakley gift bag bursting at the seams with gloves, sunglasses, KIND bars, other gear, and made pairs of custom Oakley Progression Session Elevate goggles. Chanelle Sladics led everyone in some yoga poses to start off the day, and it was time to gear up and head to the hill. Four groups of snowboarders and one group of skiers swarmed the gondola, moving as a smiling mob down the hill toward the park.
Loon Mountain has a deserved reputation as having one of the most progressive parks on the East Coast and Brian Norton and his park crew pulled out all the stops for Droppin’ In. Right in the base area, they pushed a private progression park, with two jumps and two jibs, complete with Oakley tents and lounge area, and a PA system blasting music from Ladyhawke and Eddie Money. As snowboarders and skiers hiked the mini-cheese wedges and began stomping back threes, methods, and truck drivers, weekenders and Loon locals stopped to watch the action; the ladies were having so much fun, it was more like a party than anything else—a super progressive snowboarding party were the invitees were learning tricks by the hour.
Droppin’ In rider Estee Schmaltz, from Natick, Mass., said, “It’s amazing to get a group of women together like this. You’re able to give advice to the riders that are trying things that you feel confident with, and you are inspired by the riders who are more advanced.”
Charlotte Rea, from Boston, echoed the sentiment, “The camaraderie is unlike any other and creates an environment where you feel comfortable trying and learning new tricks.”
Even as the rain fell off and on, the vibe of the day stayed high and dry. Women who had never made turns inside a park were hitting jumps and trying boardslides. More advanced riders were putting down different variations of 360s, and hitting street-style rails. The skiers were 270ing on everything in sight and the clink of poles to celebrate their peers’ successes was constant. Said ski coach, Grete Eliassen, “I didn’t know any of the girls [in my group], then we skied together for seven hours, and I just got a bunch of new friends. The girls were sixteen, twenty-two, all the way to thirty and age wasn’t a factor at all. They were skiing so hard. It was so cool to see all the women hitting boxes for the first time and trying new tricks. I’m inspired.”
The energy was so downright contagious that soon the support crew of Oakley’s guy employees climbed up the drop in and strapped in for an impromptu game of SHRED. It is a rare scene when a group of lady-riders inspires a hardened crew of park guys and industry folks to shred and it’s no exaggeration that the Progression Sessions’ Droppin’ In camp did just that. Talk about the powers of female persuasion.
As the day wrapped up and boots came off, the ladies of Loon lingered in the Droppin’ In room well beyond the end of camp. While everyone was beat from a day of riding and hiking, the anticipation for what Sunday will bring was more than enough fuel to keep the girls’ stoke turned up.
Check back tomorrow for more from the Loon Droppin’ In stop of Oakley Progression Sessions and for more info visit www.oakleyprogressionsessions.com